Friday, January 29, 2010

Holiday Sick

Last week I wrote a post on soup and happened to mention, perhaps rather too smugly, that I have a freezer stashed full of stock, including turkey stock to fight winter colds and flu. Now the little voice that tells me trite things like ‘pride comes before a fall’, and ‘don’t tempt fate’, is telling me triumphantly ‘I told you so!’

On Monday morning Middle Daughter woke up not feeling well, Youngest had a bit of a sore throat but went to school anyway. As the morning went on my throat started to feel scratchy and my husband was also suffering. The school called me to fetch Youngest early, as she was now feeling sick. In no time I had two sick girls installed on the sofa, one husband in bed and a son who was entirely unaffected by the lurgy still needing to go to school and be fed normal meals.

So my freezer full of stock has been slightly depleted. Vegetable soup with turkey stock for the girls, clear broth with garlic and herbs and a bit of rice for husband whose throat was too sore even for bits of vegetables, lentil soup made with ham stock later on to ring the changes, have been the diet this week. The girls have occupied the sofa for the entire week, sore throats and temperatures and sore eyes and headaches. My throat turned into a head cold, so I did the minimum of work to keep my regular clients happy and spent the rest of the time reading them stories.

My husband developed acute tonsillitis and so is on antibiotics which always make him feel rotten, so he’s mostly stayed in bed. I took the girls to our homeopath, when their fevers still weren’t down on Thursday. They were in better spirits by then and eating well, but I thought they might need something to boost them over the last of it. Middle Daughter turned out to have tonsillitis too, even though her throat only felt a bit sore. Youngest just has a throat infection.

The other day as I was doing my round of the sick beds and sofas with jelly and ice-cream for a snack, Middle Daughter looked up at me and commented,
“It’s like you’re our servant.”
I was momentarily lost for words, but then hurriedly corrected this unflattering image with,
“No, I’m your nurse.”
All I lack is a cap and uniform. The temperature chart is there for all three of them; the thermometer in a little cup of sterilizing stuff. Tissue salts and homeopathic drops to be doled out hourly and two hourly and regularly meals delivered, balanced for nutrition and ease of eating.

Mind you, as our domestic help has been off sick this week, having caught mumps from Youngest, the servant cap feels like it fits too… except that I haven’t done that job very well at all, confining myself to ensuring a supply of clean dishes and clean clothes and ignoring the dust balls and dog hair strewing the floors.

So instead of regaling you with glorious photos of our holidays, swimming in rivers and mountain pools, sunshine and braais, you can picture for yourselves a dusty interior, gloomy with blankets over the windows to keep the bright summer sun from glaring in feverish eyes, the hum of the washing machine and occasional giggles from the girls, who at least have had each other as companions all week on the sofa and have been able to chat away and play games when feeling well enough.

I need another holiday now!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Happy New Year!

A blue moon shining down on us on New Year’s Eve, blue moon with a partial eclipse, it has to have powerful mojo, extra special energy to bring in the New Year. Auspicious in every way.

We all made little banners to take out to the circle before supper, banners to flutter in the wind and carry the energy of our New Year’s intention from old year into the new.

Some of us wrote single words, others wrote a whole screed of intentions, resolutions, inscribed, decorated and from the heart.

Mine were single word intentions, words that I want to grow with me through the next year:

Expand – to grow from internal thinking towards outward action, to expand horizons and think bigger.
Balance – to keep balanced between family and work, myself and others, an even keel.
Joy – to remember to enjoy life as it unfurls, allow joy to come into every day and let go of the anxiety that clouds it.

Our banners fluttered in the wind around the sticks of our circle, surrounded by the flags and windmills left from our Summer festival, as we left the sand pit to go and tend to the roast lamb and roast potatoes, the whole family joining us for a late supper.

A perfect leg of lamb and two big bowls of roast potatoes, buttered leeks from the garden, baked butternut and broccoli, a feast indeed; but the moon rose with a resounding glow and had us all rushing outside to admire it amid the last pink glow on the horizon, leaving hardly touched plates of food on the table. The food pulled us back inside to the table but after that we kept a careful eye on the moon through the window to spot the eclipse: a mere nibble from the side of it in the end but enough to see with the naked eye.

The kids had their pudding first and then were despatched to bed, so that we could sit over ours and try to stretch the meal as late as possible. With coffee, chocolate and nuts we made it to 10.30, but then the others retired home to their beds, while my mother, my husband and I stalwartly kept going, with the help of our books, till midnight to welcome in the New Year.

I confess to nodding off with the sparkle of Christmas tree lights and tinsel blurring together as my eyes closed, but a firework roused me and we rushed out to admire our neighbour’s fireworks (illegal in our dry climate but pretty anyway). The dogs rushed in to hide away from the noise and after a last salute to the moon we went to bed too.

New Year's Day was spent by the pool with full on summer weather at last.

Wishing you all a wonderful 2010 full of joy and positive energy!